In order to beat a DWI case, you (more specifically, your attorney) need to know the inner workings of the law. There are certain negotiation and defense techniques that only an experienced attorney knows about and can perform. Here’s a sample of some DWI negotiation strategies that attorneys need to know in order win a case.
DWI Negotiation Strategies
In many cases, DWI practitioners should take advantage of what I call the “godfather clause.” In other words, we ask law enforcement to “make us an offer that we cannot refuse.” For example, if a DWI client is charged with a felony, we need it reduced to a misdemeanor. In an extreme misdemeanor case for a client that cannot face another day in jail, we may ask the prosecution to remove the mandatory jail sentence from the equation. It is always best to get the DWI changed to a non-DWI charge due to the collateral consequences from a DWI conviction. Our goal is also to get the prosecution to “sweeten the pot” to such an extent that the client does not have a desire to take the case to trial.
Another weapon previously mentioned in our arsenal is the so-called confrontation clause. Basically, the Sixth Amendment gives you the right to confront witnesses who are bringing forth evidence against you. If you cannot do so, the prosecution does not have the right to restrict your cross-examination. In other words, as a defense lawyer you have the right to expose reliability and credibility issues in the prosecution’s case.
It should be noted that under Texas law, a first-time DWI conviction is considered a class B misdemeanor for which you can receive a sentence of 3-180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. A second conviction is treated as a Class A misdemeanor, which can double your potential jail time to one year, and also double your fine to $4,000. If you already have two convictions, the third is treated as a felony, which is punishable by two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A DWI charge involving a passenger who is under fifteen years of age is also treated as a felony. A first-time DWI case in which anyone is seriously injured is considered intoxication assault, which involves a two- to ten-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. If anyone is killed in such incident, the prison sentence may be up to twenty years.
The evolving issues in Texas DWI cases pertain to blood draws, either statutory or warrant initiated, and the so-called “no refusal” programs. I have attended the Axion Lab Gas Chromatography (Blood Testing) Course in Chicago and gone through phlebotomy training to better cross these witnesses during blood draw cases. You have to know what occurs during a blood draw and the reason for that action. Only then can you deal with witnesses that try to stretch their involvement to the point where the evidence comes in.
Knowledge is power.